• The ancient Greeks first tried to understand the role of the brain and to explain neural disorders. Aristotle thought the brain was a blood-cooling mechanism.
  • French physician Pierre Paul Broca (1824-1880) concluded that different parts of the brain had specific functions.
  • In 1873 Italian physician Gamillo Golgi used silver chromate salt to detect neurons.
  • Spanish pathologist Santiago Ramón y Cajal hypothesised that neurons are independent nerve cell units.
  • Since the 1950s, scientific development enabled neuroscientists to study the nervous system more in-depth.
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  • Affective neuroscience. How neurons behave in relation to emotions.
  • Behavioural neuroscience.
  • Clinical neuroscience. Disorders of the nervous system.
  • Cognitive neuroscience. How the brain forms thoughts.
  • Computational neuroscience.
  • Cultural neuroscience.
  • Developmental neuroscience. How the brain and the nervous system grow and change.
  • Molecular and cellular neuroscience.
  • Neuroengineering.
  • Neuroimaging.
  • Neuroinformatics.
  • Neurolinguistics.
  • Neurophysiology. How the brain and its function relate to different parts of the body.

Neuroscience affects all human functions, but it also assists in a better understanding of common conditions such as Down syndrome, Autistic spectrum disorders (ASD), ADHD, addiction, brain tumours, immune system disorders like multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson's disease.

Understanding the neurological factors can facilitate in developing medications and other strategies to treat and prevent these conditions.

Neuroscience and Neuroscientists

Neuroscientists focus on the brain and its impact on behaviour and cognitive functions. They study the nervous system's cellular, functional, behavioural, evolutionary, computational, molecular, cellular, and medical aspects.

Neuroscience is an interdisciplinary science. It works closely with mathematics, linguistics, engineering, computer science, chemistry, philosophy, psychology, and medicine.

Neurogenesis vs Neuroplasticity
  • Neurogenesis - is the process of which new neurons/brain cells grow in the brain;
  • Neuroplasticity - refers to the existing neurons and the new neurons grow and form different connections with each other. It shapes who we are.

Brain cells get destroyed when we experience high levels of chronic inflammation. This mainly happens due to chronic stress, unhealthy eating habits (eating too much processed sugar, meat, and refined carbs), and not getting enough rest.

When we have an inflamed brain, it leads to brain fog, anxiety, depression, and low energy; and in the long run, it may cause cognitive decline and other diseases.

The neurotrophin BDNF is a type of protein that helps with the brain cells' growth and survival.

In order to boost its production, a diet with consistent omega-3 fatty acids and flavonoids are great boosters. Moreover, anti-inflammatory spices such as turmeric, rosemary, and ginger are important as well.

How new brain cells are grown

Neurogenesis happens in two parts of the brain: the hippocampus and the olfactory bulb. The former is responsible for emotional health and memory function while the latter is associated with smell.

In order to stay mentally sharp and emotionally balanced, we need to develop habits that promote neurogenesis: having a healthy diet, getting consistently good sleep, and regular exercise. Your diet needs to consist of omega-3 fatty acids, phytonutrients, B vitamins, zinc, and magnesium.

Mindful Pause For Lunch

Since we've been deprived of socialization and have been away from people for as long as we can remember it's important to try and reach out to people.

Taking a break away from your workstation and having lunch maybe at the park or just by the balcony of your place and someone to talk to on the phone can recharge our batteries and possibly make us more focused and creative for the rest of the day.

Unconscious Eating

Having close proximity to food will increase the chances of developing a habit called "unconscious eating" where an individual will eat without giving it much thought and ignore the physiological cues that are being given to us while eating a meal.

When we do not pay attention to the cues being alerted to us regarding satiety we tend to eat quickly and don't feel full or satisfied from what we've eaten. Moreover, having easier access to food can also lead to higher calorie consumption.

Taking A Proper Luch Break: Steps To Improve Your State of Well-Being
  1. Schedule an actual lunch break. Even though we're working from home it doesn't mean that we have to sit in our chairs the entire day working. It is important to have time for yourself.
  2. Move away from your work area and have a change in environment. Set the table where you can eat peacefully and not think about work for the next 30 minutes or so.
  3. Start behaving like you're actually going to work. Sometimes, it can be less stressful and even motivating to think that you're reporting to the office.
Our Response To Stress
  • When we experience a stressful event, different hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are released inside our body, resulting in a fight-or-flight response, and may experience volatility, extreme emotions and brain shutdowns.
  • Long-term stress has been linked with all kinds of problems related to physical and mental health.
  • Our community, the support we get from family, friends and relatives tend to factor in our response towards a stressful situation.

A person with underlying and invisible mental health issues is likely to get triggered by any event.

Like the straw that broke a camel’s back, a person’s current mindset and problems can project a new problem in a distorted way, making even a small event feel overwhelming. This leads to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.

  1. Take care of yourself by practising mindfulness meditation, yoga, or deep breathing.
  2. Focus on what you are able to control, and regulate it, like watching less news.
  3. Ask for support from family or a therapist.
  4. Help others and listen to their problems, creating a reciprocating feeling of empathy and understanding.
  5. Understand that we are all different yet the same, and learn to live in harmony.

Mature adults have developed their coping skills and are not as reactive and stressful all the time as the young population, which are yet to understand steadfastness, resilience or the benefits of a calm mind.

When a person has successfully managed challenging situations, new problems are not reacted with panic as our past experiences give us strength and self-efficacy.

Right action comes when we take proactive steps to remedy a problematic situation, tapping into the things that are possible and can be controlled.

  • A person with an external locus of control blames others and acts like a hopeless victim.
  • A person who has an internal locus of control is able to move into positive action and cope up with the situation at hand.

Our personality and upbringing play a major role in how we handle a stressful situation.

First responders, firefighters and surgeons have different skill sets and mental strength, apart from the professional training that they have undergone, leading to better handling of pressure situations.

When we exercise, our bodies use energy, either supplied by carbohydrates stored in our bodies, or from the food we eat.

  • If the exercise is demanding or we exercise for a long time, we use more stored carbohydrate.
  • If your energy is low, or you're doing a longer or more demanding session, consuming carbohydrate-rich foods such as pasta, rice, cereals or fruit three to four hours before exercise can help.
  • Eating lower glycemic index foods such as porridge oats or whole grain bread can better sustain energy during exercise.
  • Eating right before exercising could cause indigestion, cramps or nausea.
  • If your goal is building strength or muscle, eating protein before exercise may improve overall recovery responses.

Recent research shows that training in a fasted state can lead to efficient fuel use, fat burning, improved blood sugar and hormone regulation. This is helpful when training for a marathon to help delay fatigue.

  • Studies also show that eating soon after exercise can help maximise recovery, particularly eating carbohydrates.
  • But there is also evidence that eating protein during recovery can maximise muscle growth. If training is done later in the day, eating a small protein meal before bed can help with acute recovery.
Eating before or after you exercise

Research shows the importance of nutrition for exercise. However, it is not always clear whether it's best to eat before or after you exercise.

The following should be considered:

  • What you're training for.
  • The level you're at. An elite athlete's needs differ from a beginner.
  • Considering what works for you.

There is a clear advantage for eating before and during longer duration exercise. Using nutrition to strategically recover is essential for those who want to maximise their workouts.

When resistance training, consuming a combination of mainly carbohydrate, protein, and creatine before and after exercise, provide better muscle and strength gains over ten weeks.

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